I love coffee far too much. I’ve tried just about every method of at-home brewing and extraction possible and once even tried roasting a batch in my kitchen. It was pretty good.
Nothing beats a well-pulled shot of espresso consumed in a well-presented location. With that said, here are some of my favourite coffeehouse haunts near the office and beyond. Pret never needs to be on the cards again!
London (Paddington, Marylebone, Westminster & Holborn) –
Where: 84b Lamb’s Conduit St, WC1N 3LR (+ others)
Serving: Aylesbury Roast, roasted by prisoners at HMP Aylesbury
Insert some activism into your morning routine by sipping on coffee roasted by this social enterprise. Staff are chatty, there’s an on-site kitchen, and the store is minimal with seating both in and outside and downstairs.
Where: 239 High Holborn, WC1V 7EW (+ others)
Serving: Their own blend from Brazil, roasted by Johan & Nyström
This bakery chain run café is tiny. In summer, it’s the perfect grab-and-go kiosk experience with kind and quick staff. In winter, I imagine curling up in the corner for most of the afternoon and soaking in their playlist.
Where: St Pancras International, 28A & 28B, N1C 4QP (+ others)
Serving: Sourced Market Espresso, roasted by Origin Coffee
Train stations and good coffee don’t usually go hand in hand but Sourced Market makes it work. Skip the long queue by going to the coffee-only, card-only barista just off to the side of the main store, under the departure boards.
Where: 53-57 Theobalds Rd, WC1X 8SP (+ others)
Serving: Their own Pacific Blend, roasted by Climpson & Sons
This is about as healthy as breakfast gets for me! The coffee at Abokado is wonderfully smooth and the staff are always up for a friendly conversation if the store’s a little quiet. Everything is made to order so go early to get the best service and pick up a bagel or pretzel roll.
Where: 18 Chiltern St, W1U 7QA
Serving: Allpress Espresso
Owned by Tyler Brûlé's Monocle empire, the Monocle Café serves premium food and drink from a dinky little outpost around the corner from their headquarters in Marylebone. The café plays Monocle's radio station, Monocle 24, making it a great location to catch up on the headlines. If you’re ordering food, I love the Katsu Chicken Sandwich.
Where: 31 Norfolk Pl, W2 1QH
Serving: Allpress Espresso
Kioskafé is a project from Monocle that aims to redefine what a good newsagent is. The staff are young and vibrant and there’s an extensive selection of print available for purchase. Ask the barista what they're reading at the moment if you want to pick up something new.
Where: 188-189 Drury Ln, WC2B 5QD
Serving: Allpress Espresso
Just around the corner from Covent Garden, this is a busy venue. If you don't mind a bit of a wait (a good chance to do some people-watching) make sure you pop along to Drury. The team here really know what they're doing and are passionate about it too – it shows! 'Proper' breakfast and lunches are on the menu but grab a cake instead. The nursery rhyme was right: the muffin man really does live down Drury Lane.
Outside of London –
The Grand Café
Where: 84 High St, Oxford, OX1 4BG
Serving: Coffee from around the world from a variety of roasters
The first coffeehouse in England, says the sign. The cafe across the street claims the same but one looks like the coffeehouse from Friends and the other serves boutique coffee from around the world.
Where: 64 Westgate St, Gloucester GL1 2NE
Serving: Their own blend, from Kenya, Brazil and Honduras
Just around the corner from Gloucester Cathedral, Clementine serves outstanding, local food and delicious coffee. It's definitely among some of the classier joints in the city and one that everyone should visit for a laid-back Sunday morning. There's also a sister café on Queen's Circus in Cheltenham.
Guru Coffee House
Where: 29 Brunswick Rd, Gloucester, GL1 1JE
Serving: A seasonal blend, roasted by Carvetii Coffee Roasters
Sit on the bottom floor near the window and bathe in the sun! Service is to your seat and there's an extensive selection of food (although I haven't tried any myself), teas and health drinks if you fancy something beyond coffee.
Boston Tea Party
Where: 45-49 Clarence St, Cheltenham, GL50 3JS (+ others)
Serving: Their own house blend, plus seasonal guest roasts
Ever popular, the Cheltenham branch of West Country chain Boston Tea Party is everything a modern cafe should be. There’s no takeaway coffee here, as they’ve ditched single-use. Instead, enjoy a variety of roasts inside and get some brunch too. The Eggs Benedict is good as is the West Country Breakfast.
At home –
I’ll say it again, nothing beats a well-pulled shot of espresso consumed in a well-presented location. But when popping out for a pour-over isn’t possible and you’re stuck with a stovetop, these are the brands of coffee I opt for at home in no particular order.
Cost per 100g: £3.60
Where to get it: Buy it from Drury, the Monocle Cafe, Kioskafé, or online.
Roasted by talented Kiwis, this coffee is beautifully balanced and complex. I think it goes best with some milk but it also makes a wonderful standalone drink.
Redemption Roasters Aylesbury Roast
Cost per 100g: £3.56
Where to get it: Buy it from any Redemption Roasters cafe or online.
Prisoners know how to make a mean roast! Supporting people behind-bars, Redemption is a more-than-profit company and one I support whenever I can. Velvety and vibrant, I pick up a bag of their Aylesbury roast regularly.
Modern Standard (Momentum Espresso)
Cost per 100g: £1.98
Where to get it: Sainsbury's supermarkets or online.
These are the best beans you’re buying from supermarket shelves. The blend changes over the course of the year but is always a good staple to have to hand.
Disclosure: As with everything on this website, I don’t get paid, accept things for free, or use referral links to earn a commission on anything on this domain. Everything here is an honest recommendation mentioned because I've tried the product extensively and am impressed by how great their staff or location are.